Stepping out my front door, I almost ran into a man wearing a mini-skirt, bra, and heavy mascara. He was standing with his arm around a young woman posing for a smart-phone picture. At the click of the digital shutter, she turned and thanked the well-heeled man, saying, You look beautiful! With a smile, which I confess made me shudder, he responded, Happy pride day, darling.
I suppose I lack eyes to see. Under the layers of eye make-up, I saw only a poor man, rebelling against an unavoidable shame, enslaved by a particularly virulent strain of concupiscence. As speedo-clad men with Indian headdresses walked between corporate floats and smiling transvestites, I couldnt help but be amazed at the miracle of propaganda that had turned such blatant displays of sexual perversion into something which could be called beautiful.
Was no one else seeing what I saw? Two NYPD officers stood sentinel along the Christopher Park stretch of the NYC Gay pride parade route. To the first, a tall black man wearing dark sunglasses, I asked if the guys at the NYPD supported this causeas a man wearing fake plastic breasts over a black Goth jumpsuit walked by. He replied in the affirmative. I turned to his partner, a shorter white man who, looking a bit uncomfortable at the direction of my query, gave the noncommittal reply, I have no opinion.
Thanking the NYPD for their service, I turned around to find a Latino woman standing with her two teenage daughters. With hopeful naïveté, I asked if she too was in support of all this, gesturing to the parade route, which featured a shirtless Asian man prancing in leopard-skin tights. She nodded. These poor men and women look unhappy to me,” I replied, ”enslaved to desires that promise a happiness that they can never achieve. I told her I was Catholic, and I knew that God created men and women for perfect happiness, that we all suffer desires that would make us slaves of the devil, and that I dont take pride in this tragedy. She said that she too was Catholic.
Despairing of finding anyone else who saw tragedy in this beautiful display of pride, I changed my line of questioning. Why do you support gay marriage? I asked a young woman, standing with her arm around her partner. I should have the same rights as my brother and sister, she said. What is marriage? I asked a volunteer for Lambda Legal. Marriage is a civil right that gives legal benefits to couples who wish to spend their lives together. On the parade route, a presumably straight couple with a baby carrier walked by with a sign reading 38 States to Go!”
Having prayed a Rosary on the sideline as dancing Diet Coke, TD Bank, and Delta Airlines employees floated by, I said a few St. Michael prayers for good measure and returned to my church. I dont know what it will take to turn the tide of the civil rights movement of our generation, but if we are to shed the dunce-cap of the hostes humani generis, reveal the love that inspires our resistance, and reclaim the moral high-ground, then we must expose the personal tragedies that are wrapped in rainbows. A man wearing a mini-skirt, bra, and mascara does not look beautiful. He looks like a man crying for help.
Photo Credit: Phil Davies (post does not express opinions of artist)